If you're in L.A. and can still score a ticket to one of the handful of day and evening performances left through Sunday night of "The Reptile Under the Flowers," do.
Go solo if you have to, but go.
We just returned from an afternoon performance of this avant garde puppetry showcase at the Masonic Lodge in Culver City, and are still in that dazzled awe that happens in the experience of art well done.
The hour-long diorama-performance involves miniature puppets and sets, peepshows, mechanical ephemera and projections, and a bit of live, freaky mood music. Groups of eight are lead around 13 stations, where scenes of this black tale play out with the "help" of 16 puppeteers.
This ain't exactly kid stuff. But the two 8-year-old boys in our group kept mesmerized the entire hour.
The experimental puppet community is alive and thriving, and with the latest show, which began Thursday, it warranted a feature in a recent L.A. Times. Among the forces is Automata, a nonprofit band of puppet artisans and enthusiasts founded in 2004 by Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson. For this show, Automata collaborated with the Museum of Jurassic Technology. (This place deserves its own entry entirely: It's a kind of cabinet of curiosities pretending–or is it?–to pass off as a museum. It has been more appropriately described as a site of conceptual art. It must be seen to be believed, and even then, you won't believe it. But I digress…)
While it's probably best to buy tickets in advance, a few folks took their chances and just showed up. There's a show starting every 15 minutes.
Thank you to puppeteer Michael Serwich for the tip.
Photo Credit: Cribbed from Janie Geiser's site.
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